The Baltimore Orioles Are 2022’s Most Interesting Team
It had to give at some point — especially after years and years of just plain lousy baseball. Sure, there were solid pieces, but the Baltimore Orioles were hungry for more. For the city, the fans, and their legacy. In 2022, however, things may be starting to take shape for them.
Out of the woodwork, no one expected this team to compete, let alone reach a .500 record. There were murmurs though. Early on in 2022, MLB.com ranked the Baltimore Orioles among the best farm systems in the league. People said the team could be eyeing a championship in the near future — just not in 2022.
As of Sept. 1, they hold a 68-61 record. The O’s are two games back from a Wild Card spot currently occupied by the Blue Jays. Since June 22, Baltimore is 37-22. What caused this massive turnaround? Well, there are multiple factors.
On May 21, the team called up MLB’s top prospect, catcher Adley Rutschman. Despite playing only 81 games, he leads the team in WAR with 3.6. The switch-hitter is slashing a very respectable .247/.357/.431 with 8 home runs and 25 RBI, amounting to a 124 OPS+.
It’s not just the call-up of Rutschman, though. Outfielder Anthony Santander is having a career year, slashing .257/.336/.455 and leading the team with 23 home runs and 73 RBI. Other major offensive factors include Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, and Austin Hays. And that’s without Trey Mancini.
However, the Orioles’ offense isn’t the main reason they’re performing so well. The Baltimore bullpen is nearly unhittable. Since trading Jorge Lopez to the Twins, Felix Bautista has stepped up as one of the American League’s premier closers. His ERA sits at 1.55 with a 2.95 FIP and 0.810 WHIP.
Don’t forget Cionel Perez either. This righty is arguably the best setup man in baseball. He is 7-1 with a 1.59 ERA and a 3.06 WHIP.
With all these pieces, you’d think that would be enough, right? Somehow this team is still two games back from a Wild Card spot with a month left of the regular season. The team made the decision on Aug. 31 to call up top prospect Gunnar Henderson.
Henderson is geared up and ready to give this team an extra boost. His first hit in the league was a home run, after all, leading the Orioles to a 4-0 victory yesterday over the first-place Cleveland Guardians. Expect this last month to be very exciting, especially if you’re a fan of the Baltimore Orioles.
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